Decision details

Westco - Business Plan 2024/25

Decision Maker: Shareholder Committee

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Decisions:

The Chair welcomed Ian Farrow (in person) and Christos Pishias (online) to the meeting. They were asked to introduce the report outlining the business plan for Westco 2024-25.

 

Ian Farrow spoke to the report, highlighting that it has been a challenging year for both clients and local government. He outlined that the business plan has a modest growth projected for next year in revenue, and that the company forecast to break even for profitability.

 

The Chair invited the committee to ask any questions.

 

Councillor David Boothroyd commented that it has been a difficult time for the company, and that they have successfully restructured. Councillor David Boothroyd ask what has led to the selected areas for growth outlined in the report. Ian Farrow replied that this is partly due to history, as the company has always completed work within the public sector, and that they are trusted because of that. Westco have also won a contract for the Hertfordshire Fire Services.

 

Councillor David Boothroyd also asked if there was scope for investment in IT services, to widen their offer, to which Ian Farrow replied that there is, and there are more possibilities with the development of AI.

 

Councillor Matt Noble asked about prospects for growth within the UK and international markets. Ian Farrow said that a lot of consultancy work can be done in the sector, but they are broadening their net to do international work, and that they are in early conversations with people to make this happen. Christos Pishias commented that it is an unpredictable market, but that they have had contracts extended to the end of the year.

 

Councillor Matt Noble also asked about the profit margins, and if the business were to scale up, would they need more staff. Ian Farrow replied that they have apply different margin rates to different products, and that it depends on the contract.

 

Councillor Liza Begum asked about Westminster Academy, and their timeline to achieving their objectives here. Ian Farrow replied that they run the academy more as a marketing tool, with more affordable services, to attract the use of further services. He commented that this could do with further investment.

 

Councillor Hug asked about the overheads calculation, and if this includes costs such as use of the building. Lyndsey Gamble replied that this does not include accommodation, or charging for her or any of the finance team’s time. Councillor Hug noted that this is a cost that the company is effectively saving and should be more clearly understood.

 

Councillor Hug also asked about turning short term clients into longer term clients. Ian Farrow replied that their contract with the Hertfordshire fire services will likely expand to other services if it proves a success. Councillor Matt Noble asked if they will use this to expand to other contracts in Hertfordshire, and other Fire Services, to which Ian Farrow replied that they will.

 

The Chair asked the committee to approve the business plan for Westco 2024-25. The committee indicated approval.

 

 

 

 

Publication date: 18/03/2024

Date of decision: 26/03/2024

Decided at meeting: 26/03/2024 - Shareholder Committee

Accompanying Documents: